Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Restroom Etiquette: No Noodles in the Sink!

I found this notice posted in the restroom at a certain university in Osaka. Apparently someone doesn't know the rule about noodles in the bathroom...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

ONLINE COURSE: Visualizing Japan

Announcement from H-NET Notifications:

Harvard-MIT MOOC: Visualizing Japan (1850s-1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity

Seminar Date: 2014-09-03 Now open for registration. Free!

A first-time MIT/Harvard MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Visualizing Japan opens windows on Japan’s transition into the modern world through the historical visual record. Teachers include John Dower (MIT), Andrew Gordon (Harvard), and Gennifer Weisenfeld (Duke).

This co-taught course looks at Japanese history and the skills and questions involved in reading history through images now accessible in digital formats. The course is based on the MIT "Visualizing Cultures" website devoted to image-driven research on Japan and China since the 19th century ( The introductory module considers methodologies historians use to “visualize” the past, followed by three modules that explore the themes of Westernization, in Commodore Perry’s 1853-54 expedition to Japan; social protest, in Tokyo’s 1905 Hibiya Riot; and modernity, as seen in the archives of the major Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido.

This MOOC will be followed by Visualizing Postwar Tokyo by Shunya Yoshimi of the University of Tokyo.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free expression protest"

Here's an article about Japan's laws related to the visual (especially those deemed "obscene")... From Japan Today, July 16, 2014:

Japanese police have arrested a Tokyo artist on obscenity charges for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina, sparking protests over what supporters said was an attack on free expression.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko which roughly translates as “bastard kid”, had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modeled on the shape of her genitals.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes. But obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.

The artist—who has created other genital-inspired artworks—was arrested Saturday for “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer,” a police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

Before her arrest, Igarashi—who remained in detention on Tuesday—had collected about one million yen through an Internet crowd funding site.

In exchange for donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.

Igarashi’s supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police’s unusually broad use of Japan’s obscenity laws in this case.

Activist Minori Kitahara said police raided Igarashi’s office and seized 20 of her artworks.

“Japan is still a society where those who try to express women’s sexuality are suppressed, while men’s sexuality is overly tolerated,” she said.

Japan’s pornography industry is predominantly targeted at men and the country only last month made the possession of child pornography illegal.

The ban excludes “manga” comics—those aimed at adults as well as children, “anime” video and computer-generated graphics, following calls to protect freedom of expression.

Campaigners had long urged Japan to toughen its stance on child pornography, complaining it was a major source of the material for global markets.

If convicted, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen, according to her lawyer.


UPDATE! Check out how The Huffington Post covered the story (thanks to MH for the reference):